Conversations with a Navigator

My father always had the street maps for the Witwatersrand n his car. Over the years it grew from a   40 page booklet to a 2000 page map guide the size of a telephone directory.

We needed the map to guide him to meetings and also to look at properties that were for sale and or development. As he got older his secretary would copy the relevant pages and leave them in a folder. He would plot a route, mark it and memorise it to a great degree.

In the late nineties I bought him a Garmin. In those days it was the size of a small shoe box, and the screen was not as clear as they are now. Nor as big. And the computer generated lady’s voice was much more irritating. I gave him the device when he came to visit in Durban one year. He had hired a car. He was always aware or in possession of modern equipment, but not quite a gadget man. He had been using an Olympus Micro Recorder from the days when they were considered spy equipment. He adopted digital cameras earlier than I did. He was a whiz on the HP Financial Reverse calculator.

Much as he should have loved the navigator, he hated it. Perhaps it was the bossy voice?

Perhaps it was the first day he used it in Durban. I programmed various sites for him as favourites: Home, the flat at the beach, the Greek Church, the La Lucia Mall and the casinos. So he and mom had the usual busy day out, seeing sights, shopping and visiting the casinos. They got into the car, tired and pushed home as a favourite. Only when they were driving pas the Pavilion in Westville did my mother venture to ask if they were on the right road? She had long since learnt to keep quiet, but this was too obvious.

I had told him I programmed “Home” as his house in Johannesburg, and my place as “Basil Home”.

Sometimes he was as stubborn as his children and just did not listen!

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